The FCD Academy Hot List – May 2021

Back in August of 2020, I wrote the first version of a new concept I wanted to build on over timeThe FCD Academy Hot List.  The idea was to talk about some of the kids doing good soccer things in the Academy.  But it turned out the MLS Next League has little to no – and by no I mean zero – info available about games. 

But now this May, we’ve recently had the Dallas Cup, some new North Texas SC activity, and some Homegrown action. So I think we have enough info to make a list Academy Hot List for May 2021.

This is intended to give some love and attention to Academy players and is just kind of a ranking. I used a 10 count to give it a framework.  They are in a 1 to 10 ranking but that’s almost secondary to the real goal of attention to the Academy and these kids.

Two players were just recently pulled out of this list by singing as the 31st and 32nd Homegrown in FC Dallas history: Beni Redzic and Collin Smith.  Both played extensively with North Texas last year and left behind the U19s for the most part. Both spent all of spring training with FC Dallas.

The May 2021 FCD Academy Hot List

1. Matthew Corcoran – U15 Holding/Linking Mid

At just barely 15 – he’s a 2006 – Corcoran has made both benches and subbed into both games for North Texas SC in 2021 and we may soon see him start. He’s the only Academy player to play for NTXSC this year so far.  He’s got a massive future and I expect him to sign as a Homegrown – or at least have the club try and sign him – this year.

Matthew Corcoran makes his North Texas SC debut. (Courtesy North Texas SC)

2. Antonio Carrera – U17 Goalkeeper

FCD’s returning U17 keeper by age. He also plays for the U19s some as he did in the Dallas Cup.  Of late he’s pretty much full time training with FC Dallas and North Texas SC though the Richard Sanchez signing may prevent Carrera from playing for North Texas in the short term.  This is another player I expect to be approached about a Homegrown deal sometime this year.

Antonio Carrera trains with FC Dallas, March 3, 2021. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

3. Roman Torres – U19 Premier Attacking Mid

Four straight hat tricks in the Dallas Cup to lead his FCD Youth Premier side to the U19 semifinals.  He’s also gotten a North Texas SC call up subbing in off the bench in the home opener. That’s a remarkable feat for a Premier player.  I love seeing this kid get some attention.

Roman Torres (foreground, short black hair) celebrates with this FCD Youth 02 Premier teammates during the Dallas Cup. (Courtesy Dallas Cup)

4. Nighte Pickering – U17 Striker

When Jesus Ferreira has been missing with call ups or injury, Nighte Pickering was the Academy striker of choice to fill in FC Dallas first team camp. He rejoined the U17s for the Dallas Cup but the wheels came off that age group and the U17s didn’t get out of the group stage. He recently took part in the US YNT ID Camp here in Texas.

Nighte Pickering celebrates after scoring the game’s only goal in the Dallas Cup match against Arizona Real Salt Lake. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

5. Antony Ramirez – U17 Wing

I think very highly of this kid and his talent.  In the old days he would have been a pure 10 but that’s not something FCD uses much these days so he mostly plays as a false wing.  He just took part in a Mexico U16 camp, turning down the US YNT ID camp to do so.

Anthony Ramirez in Mexico U16 camp, April 2021.

6. Adrian Anguiano – U17 Center Back

Adrian took part in a U16 Mexico camp earlier this year. Upon returning to Dallas he got invited to North Texas camp and tore his knee in training.  That’s terrible timing but his overall play has really progressed over the last year and deserves recognition for his accomplishments a little earlier this spring.

Adrian Anguiano in Mexico U16 camp.

7. Danny Elizalde – U17 Central Mid

Technically a U17 he mostly plays with the U19s now. FCD has tried him at left back a bit but mostly he plays as the free-8 in the 4-3-3. I thought he was the U19s best player in the Dallas Cup in their overachieving run to the Semi-Finals.  He too took part in the recent US YNT ID Camp.

Cesar Elizalde tips the ball up in the Dallas Cup match against Black Rock FC. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

8. Diego Hernandez – U17 Central Mid

The first 2005 to play for NTX last year, although just 1 minute.  He’s the key to the current FCD U17 midfield engine. I had heard he was getting a Mexico U17 call up but I can’t find any info that it materialized. The failure of the FCD U17s at the Dallas Cup, as well as not being involved with NTX game rosters, has dropped him down this a little from last year.  He still a big-time prospect. Also part of the US YNT ID Camp.

Diego Hernandez of the FC Dallas U17s takes on Strikers Miami FC in the Dallas Cup, March 29, 2021. (Buzz Carrick, 3rd Degree)

9. Ty Reynolds – U17 Right Back

Technically a U17, Reynolds played right back or right wing for the U19s in the Dallas Cup. Like he’s brother, FCD is pushing for him to make the full time right back conversion.  Ty recently had a two week training/trial at Charleston Battery where he played in some scrimmages/friendlies.  He also took part in the US YNT ID Camp

Ty Reynolds finds himself surrounded by Black Rock FC players during the FC Dallas 1-0 win on Day One of the 2021 Dallas Cup, March 28, 2021. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

10. Nolan Norris – U17 Left Back

I’ve been a fan of this kid for some time. I had been a little worried about Norris over the last year with the size and age jump to the double year U17s.  But he just had a strong performance at the Dallas Cup and I got a report from the US YNT ID Camp that he was one of the standout players. 

FC Dallas U17 defender Nolan Norris (32) crosses the ball in the MLS Next Cup quarterfinals match at Toyota Soccer Center. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

That’s it for our most recent FCD Academy Hot List.  Know of an FC Dallas Academy or Youth player doing great things?  Send us a note. (@3rdDegreeNet on twitter)


    1. Nope. I chose not to include him. Too inconsistent for me to this point. There are multiple kids that have gotten an NTX training stint that didn’t make this list. If he’s with them a lot more and makes a game-day roster that would likely get him in the list. It will be fluid and change over time… assuming I can continue to find/get info.

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